Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Hot Water Heaters

As I sit here, cup of coffee in hand, eating my breakfast of leftover mac ‘n’ cheese (I know), I realize I still need to address hot water heaters.  It’s a sore subject, because this was one of our modular home building “mistakes”.

A cautionary tale:

When you are building a modular home one of the “pros” is that modular homes are built and set very quickly.  And that is truly a pro!  How exciting that your new home will be built in about eight weeks.  However, by the very nature of time, that means less opportunity for you, the modular home novice, to consider all of the angles!

Point in case - our water tank.  Many modular homes are shown with master suites, including a large master bath, with a large bath tub, complete with whirlpool! The show home we based our home on, had just such a tub.  We weren’t completely sold on the giant bath, as neither my husband nor I bathe often.  Oh c’mon, we shower everyday!   I figured the large bath tub would only be used as a laundry holding tank, or a raised bed dust garden.  But as we reworked the bathroom floor plan, the large tub looked best aesthetically.   A normal sized tub looked dwarfed in the large bathroom, so, we kept the large tub and jets.

Now, I’ve looked back at all of our paperwork, and our modular home dealer gave us a long list of the inclusions, and it is right there in black and white: Master Bath Whirlpool.  And right next to that, our dealer, Scott, had written: (upgrade water heater?).

I’m not really sure why we didn’t follow through on this, except that when you are picking out all the features of your home, there are a LOT of choices to make in a short period of time, and things get missed.  SO, our water tank holds 40 gallons of nice piping hot water.  Guess how much water the tub holds?  Well I don’t know, but more than 40 gallons.  40 gallons is not enough water to cover the jets.  SO, in order to take a bath and use our bathtub for its  intended use, we have to fill up the bath with hot water, WAIT for 30 minutes for the hot water tank to heat up again, and then add more hot water to the bath.  Call me a prima donna, but that is annoying!  And doing something to rectify this problem is going on “our” ever increasing list of things to do! Sorry, honey!

So, the moral of this tale is:  do as I say, not as I do!  Take a good look at how much hot water you’re going to need, and buy your water heater accordingly.  And, when your modular home dealer leaves you nice little notes about things you need to think about, do not ignore them!

And now I’m going to show you how to make your own hot water tank, that you heat with junk mail and sticks from your yard.  Only joking!  (I did see that on the internet though, if you’re so inclined...)

When you choose your water tank, it’s going to be heated by either oil, natural gas, propane or electric, depending on your location.  The installation will be done by your builder, so you can leave that up to them.  However, do choose the size of your tank carefully.  A standard tank is 40 gallons, but as I discovered, that may not be large enough for your home.  Not to mention, there’s always one family member who takes extended hot showers - will this leave everyone in the family enough hot water?

An alternative may be an on-demand water heater.  These may be more efficient and save you money in the long run, but according to my darlin’, they lose water pressure when several people are using the hot water simultaneously.  I suggest you think about this  option carefully if you have a large household and use the dishwasher or washing machine frequently.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to power wash the dust out of my bathtub.  Ahhh, so relaxing...